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American College, University Presidents' Climate Commitment to meet at ASU

Michael M. Crow, President, Arizona State University
February 28, 2012

March 1-2 ACUPCC collaborative symposium to focus on how higher education can lead the way to a clean, green, sustainable economy

Nearly 675 strong, American colleges and universities are signatories to a commitment to reduce and eventually neutralize carbon dioxide emissions on their campuses that contribute to global warming and to integrate sustainability into their curriculum. But how do you get from commitment to planning to action to accomplishment? That will be the focus of the 2012 Southwest Regional Collaborative Symposium of the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) March 1-2 at Arizona State University.

Titled “Creating a Climate Legacy: Fulfilling the Presidents’ Climate Commitment,” this ACUPCC regional symposium is not a typical conference. Instead, it will include working sessions to foster collaboration among ACUPCC signatories who are facing similar challenges and opportunities in their regions. Sustainability teams from signatory schools across the Southwest are attending this event and will come away with tangible resources, contacts and ideas to support their efforts. There will be a strong focus on making progress in a weak economy and addressing the unique needs of minority-serving and underserved institutions.

ASU President Michael Crow, a founding member of ACUPCC, will moderate a presidents’ panel on March 2 that focuses on how higher education in the Southwest can lead the way to a clean, green and sustainable economy. Participants on the panel include David J. Schmidly, president of the University of New Mexico; John D. Haeger, president of Northern Arizona University; and Jan Gehler, president of Scottsdale Community College.

A keynote address at 6 p.m., March 1 will be given by Diana Liverman, co-director of the Institute of the Environment at the University of Arizona. Liverman, a Regents’ Professor at UA, focuses her research on the human dimensions of global environmental change and includes climate impacts, vulnerability and adaptation, climate change and food security, and climate policy, mitigation and justice, especially in the developing world.

Attendees who are scheduled to participate in energy and financing case studies include representatives from Alamo Colleges, Texas; University of California, Irvine; Weber State University, Utah; Santa Fe Community College, New Mexico; and Rio Salado College, Arizona. Other institutions that have registered include Antioch University, Los Angeles; University of California, Riverside; University of California, Santa Barbara; Prescott College, Arizona; Glendale Community College, Arizona; University of North Texas; Pasadena City College; Estrella Mountain Community College, Arizona; Luther College, Iowa; Haywood Community College, North Carolina; and Houston Community College.

The symposium will be held at ASU’s Tempe campus in Old Main. A complete agenda is at

The American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment was formed after planning sessions among a group of college and university presidents and their representatives at the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) conference in October 2006 at Arizona State University. Twelve presidents, including ASU President Crow, agreed to become founding members of the ACUPCC and in early December 2006, they sent a letter to their peers inviting them to join the initiative. Within a year, 400 institutions had joint the initiative as charter signatories. Today, nearly 675 institutions are signatories to a pledge to lead their institutions in the development of unique, comprehensive plans to achieve climate neutrality on their campuses, accelerate relevant research, and provide the critical education necessary to help society re-stabilize the world’s climate.